Montbleau said that when Pomps Pond first opened to the public in 1923, it cost $2,000 to operate for that initial month of August. In comparison, just one week at the pond this summer cost the town an average of $5,000 for lifeguards.
That translates into roughly $40,000 for lifeguards for the eight-week season, which started June 22.
Despite the presence of more than a dozen lifeguards stationed at the pond on a typical week, Montbleau said the crowds this summer were more than the staff could handle, leading to safety concerns.
She estimated that at the peak, there may have been about 500 people at the beach on busy days. That takes into account both residents and non-residents as well as children involved in organized activities such as Beach Buddies and other recreational groups.
Over the winter months, new policies for Pomps Pond will be spelled out more clearly, Montbleau said. That will likely mean the removal of the built-in grills at the pond.
“There will be no grilling. That was a problem for us,” she said. “People can either pack in a picnic lunch or purchase something at the concession stand.”
Fees may also need to go up next year.
“That will all be considered before” next summer, she said.
The town this year sold 340 season passes, which range in price from $40 for senior citizens to $100, as well as $9,000 worth of day passes, used mostly by non-residents.
Montbleau said one thing that might help would be if the state reopened Berry Pond, located in Harold Parker State Forest. The pond has been closed to swimming for several years because the state has been unable to afford to hire lifeguards.
Selectmen defended the decision by Stapczynski and the recreation staff to close the pond to non-residents at peak periods this summer.